Monday, July 26, 2010

Random Movies I Like: Tridev

A post triggered by watching the last 15 minutes of Tridev in the departure lounge of Calcutta airport. And by the guilt of having gone through a month without posting. Blame it on the pressures of writing a cricket book during the football World Cup!
Book Update: Almost done. Correcting the typos, formatting the pages before a first draft is mailed today/tomorrow. The hard part - hammering the mess into a readable flow - begins now!

What does Tridev have?
What appeals to me is the PLETHORA of things that signified a bygone era, an uncomplicated way of making films and Rajesh Vivek.

To start with the last named unsung character actor, he was part of a delightful sub-plot to discredit Sunny Deol, the honest police officer. He spoke to Sunny and then pretended to be a mute witness in court - as he
framed Sunny with his testimony consisting solely of pursing his lips, squinting his eyes and violently shaking his long-haired head.

There was the amazing song-before-the climax.
Having realised how big Oye Oye could possibly get, director Rajiv Rai inserted the catch-phrase in the final song (which had a completely different tune & orchestration from the original song).
The climax song was planned in the customary way. Heroines held hostage at villains' den. Heroes supposed to delivered in a few hours. Samai bitaane ke liye karna hain kuch kaam, chalo khelein Climax Song leke prabhu ka naam.
I also love the way the three heroines went about the song.
Step 1: Offer from villain to dance involving phrases like mehfil ko aur rangeen banane ke liye, hamare dil behlane ke liye etc.
Step 2: Indignant reaction from heroine involving phrases like maut tere sar pe, bhari bazaar mein izzat uchhalna, yeh tera aakhri raat kaminey etc.
Step 3: Dance with full-blown facial expressions (eye-twitching, sexy smirk etc) and seductive physical movements enticing active participation from the villain and NOT showing any of the aforementioned indignation.

Tridev also had Naseeruddin Shah - when he was in the phase between 'the actor of Paar' and 'Mrs Sarabhai's husband' - who funded his passion for theatre and parallel cinema by acting in really inane cinema (more inane the better). Karma. Jalwa. Hero Hiralal. And of course, Tridev and Vishwatma were different kinds of feathers in his cap as he sang, danced, flexed his biceps and romanced with gusto. He suitably under-acted and over-danced with Sonam, Archana Puran Singh et al, never being a step out of place.

Tridev had no pre-release hype. It possibly had no PR agency also. It thrived on that old-fashioned thing called 'word-of-mouth'.
Sunny Deol did his own stunts, riding a horse and firing a machine gun. Jackie Shroff didn't, his stunt double jumping over fences wearing a face-covering helmet. Nobody talked about either.
That it had a song called Oye Oye became known only when eve-teasers across the country started using it and 'decent people' were advised against singing the song in public. Hell, 'decent people' were not supposed to have anything to do with Oye Oye!

It had a kickass opening announcement that echoed echoed echoed. Keeping in mind mind mind that this was a three-hero-film hero-film film, the monologue repeated the last word of every sentence thrice thrice thrice.
For a long long time, kids across the country felt very happy in repeating "paap se dharti fati fati fati, adharm se aasmaan smaan aan..." imagining the accompaniment of Viju Shah's electronic ear-pellets in their heads.

It had ALL the villains Bollywood had at that point of time. Even Anupam Kher and Raza Murad - two established villains - were coopted in positive/greyish character roles after all the villain slots were filled up. As I saw the veritable army of bad men - with probably the sole exception of Gulshan Grover - I struggled to remember a single baddy of the times who wasn't there in Tridev!

It followed the Original Bollywood Philosophy of having a villain - He Who Must Be Named Bombastically.
In old Bolly, Teja was a mild name. The villains who made an impact were the ones who had stupendously vibrating double-syllable names - Shaakaal. Gabbar. Jughraan. Ajgar. Bhujangg. I remember the movie Toofan (shown last Saturday on Zee Cinema as part of Shanivaar ke Raat Amitabh ke Saath) in which the two main villains were called Shaitaan Singh and Zaalim Singh!

It had a maze of plot, sub-plots, meta-plots, plotted history, what have you.
Three heroes. Three heroines. Three love stories. Three back stories. Comedy tracks. Villainous motives. Add to that the linkages between the heroes - Jackie's sister Madhuri, who is Sunny's fiancee and the daughter of the Police Commissioner, whose boss is Home Minister Raza Murad and whose daughter is a film actress, giving a break to Naseeruddin Shah in a film directed by Yunus Parvez, who was advising Amitabh to give the dockyard goons their hafta... Okay, not the last part but you get the gist, don't you?

I don't hate luv storys. I just hate them when there isn't an action story, a sad story, a comic story, her story, his story tagged on to it.
And Tridev was all that and more!